I understand that on Sunday night, Wizard management called Scott Klein, company controller, to let him go. I understand they also let Darren Sanchez, VP of Production and Circulation, go in a similar fashion. This is part of a long series of redundancies at the publisher, that has led to fewer people doing the same jobs, and the recruitment of younger, freer contributors.
As the magazine publisher/convention organiser/retailer goes through some troubles right now, and I understand that founder Gareb Shamus has returned for a more hands on role.
Their online retail site has been causing a number of problems it seems. Wizard's own message board has a thread devoted to missing or damaged product, the difficulty of getting a response/product/refund from the company and details of ways people have used legal means to reclaim their money. It all gets quite ugly. But there's more.
Wizard Entertainment used to be a 'Featured Merchant' on Amazon, listed on the main first page of any product they sold, as opposed to being stuck in the group of small-time sellers on the second page, you know, the kind of place my minimal listings end up.
However Wizard have had that status dropped, in part to their recent Amazon Feedback ratings. For the last few months people have been ordering anything from high priced statues and action figures to Dora the Explorer Television sets, and receive either nothing or, bizarrely and repeatedly, a Superman Action Figure.
The failure of Wizard would serve nobody, and many fear for the future of this once proud organisation right now. Still, there are many projects of which is can feel proud, and the WizardWorld convention in Philadelphia should be one of them. We'll have a photo report of the show next week, and I'd invite any Little Bleeders who may be attending to keep BleedingCool informed of events.
It should be wizard!
UPDATE: I flicked through the most recent issue of Wizard today to be pleasantly surprised. It seems to have taken on aspects that would previously been more at home in Comic Foundry and/or Tripwire. I don't know if it's changed or if I have. But it felt a much more enjoyable, entertaining and less prurient publication. When was the last time you read Wizard?
UPDATE UPDATE: Amazon research previously appeared on Blog@Newsarama.